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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 16, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening. i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight: >> send clear message to russia or others not to do this to us, we can do stuff to you. >> woodruff: president obama talks about russian hacking, the crisis in syria, and what democrats need to do differently, in his final year- end news conference. then, a global movement-- italy's fastest growing political party embraces the anti-establishment ideals becoming popular around the world. >> this is where we see a parallel with brexit and the united states. there is a sense of the dispossessed, of the disenfranchised, those who feel they don't have a voice anymore.
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>> woodruff: and it's friday, mark shields and ramesh ponnuru analyze a full week of news. all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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lincoln financial is committed to helping you take charge of your future. >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: and friends of the newshour. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting.
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: president obama strongly suggested today that russian president vladimir putin was at the heart of the computer hacks on the democratic party. and he defended his administration's restrained response in his year-end news conference. as expected, the issue of alleged russian hacking of the u.s. election dominated president obama's last news conference of the year. it came one day after president elect trump tweeted: asked about that, mr. obama pointed out the white house had told the public about russia's role, and that he personally had
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told vladimir putin to "cut it out," but added: >> how we approach an appropriate response that increases costs for them for behavior like this in the future, but does not create problems for us is something that's worth taking the time to think about and figure out. and that's what we've done. >> woodruff: all this comes just days after reports emerged intelligence officials concluded russian president vladimir putin was directly involved in efforts to influence last month's election in favor of mr. trump. >> not much happens in russia without vladimir putin. i will confirm that this happened at the highest levels of the russian government, and i will let you make that determination as to whether there are high level russian officials who go off rogue and decide to tamper with the u.s.
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election process without vladimir putin knowing about it. >> woodruff: former democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton told supporters last night the hack was the result of putin's "personal beef" with her and contributed to her stunning loss. the kremlin denied the accusations today, saying the u.s. has yet to provide any proof of russian involvement. back at the white house, president obama was careful when he was asked about president- elect trump's perceived close relationship with russia. >> he was very complimentary of mr. putin personally. that wasn't news the president- elect during the campaign said so. and some folks who had made a career out of being anti-russian didn't say anything it. over a third of republican
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voters approve of vladimir putin, the former head of k.g.b. ronald reagan would roll over in his grave. >> woodruff: turning to syria, the president spoke of the fall of aleppo and the ongoing humanitarian crisis there. he rejected criticism the administration failed to do enough to stop the civil war. >> i cannot claim that we've been successful. and so that is something-- as is true with a lot of issues and problems around the world-- i have to go to bed with every night. but i continue to believe that it was the right approach given what realistically we could get done. absent a decision, as i said, to go into in a much more significant way. >> woodruff: and as for hillary clinton's loss and the future of the democratic party, the president said she was treated unfairly, but he had a thinly veiled criticism of her
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campaign: >> i can maybe can give counsel and advice to the democratic party. and the thing that we have to spend most time on-- because it's the thing we have the most control over-- is how do we make sure that we are showing up in places where i think democratic policies are needed, where they are helping, where they are maing a difference. but where people feel as if they're not being heard and where democrats are characterized as coastal, liberal, latte-sipping, politically correct out of touch folks. we have to be in those communities. thank you, everybody. >> woodruff: mr. obama now heads to hawaii to spend the holidays
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with the first family. after a week filled with cabinet announcements from president- elect trump, it came to a close with a controversial ambassadorial nominee, and the last few rallies for what he's calling his "thank you" tour. hershey, pennsylvania was mr. trump's latest stop last night, where he made a point of thanking african-american supporters, albeit in front of a largely white audience. >> i talk about crime, i talk about lack of education, talk about no jobs, and i'd say, what the hell do you have to lose, right? it's true. and they're smart and they picked up on it like you wouldn't believe. and you know what else? they didn't come out to vote for hillary. they didn't come out. and that was big-- so thank you to the african-american community. >> reporter: but exit polls tell a different story. 8% of blacks voted for the president-elect; 89% went for clinton. the latest transition team announcement was mr. trump's pick for u.s. ambassador to israel-- david friedman, who holds controversial positions on
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israel. >> a trump administration will never pressure israel into a two-state solution or any other solution that is against the wishes of the israeli people. >> reporter: friedman is a bankruptcy lawyer from new york who represented trump in the past. he rejects the two-state solution as a "suicidal peace" and says jews who do support it are worse than holocaust collaborators. and he says the u.s. state department-- where he'll be an employee-- has a "100 year history of anti-semitism." friedman also supports the highly controversial idea of moving the american embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. today, mr. trump held meetings in new york, including with president obama's secretary of homeland security-- jeh johnson. while at the white house, future chief of staff reince priebus got advice from current chief of staff denis mcdonough and a host of other former chiefs of staff.
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for the pbs newshour, i'm william brangham. >> woodruff: thank you. today, there were several late news reports president-elect trump will nominate nick mulvaney to head the white house management and budget. the official a2340u789 is expected monday. in the day's other news: bitter winter weather blasted the northeastern u.s., closing schools and roadways amid perilous driving conditions. boston recorded its coldest temperature on this day in over a century-- four degrees. meanwhile, a blizzard warning was issued in upstate new york, with wind chills plunging 20 to 30 degrees below zero. and in new york city, residents shared their strategies for surviving the arctic blast. >> i've heard it a good plan to put on layers, so i am layered up. i mean i look like one of those sandwiches that you know, three pieces of bread, lettuce and tomatoes. >> got to keep moving around, or
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else your toes freeze up, your hands freeze up. >> woodruff: you got to hand it to them. farther west, the oklahoma city area had to contend with freezing rain. slick roads were to blame for three deaths overnight and over 100 crashes. the pentagon says a chinese warship has seized a u.s. navy underwater drone in the south china sea. it happened yesterday, northwest of the subic bay, off the philippines. it was believed to be the first such incident. pentagon officials said the unmanned drone was collecting unclassified scientific data. the u.s. has issued a formal diplomatic protest, demanding its return. north carolina's republican governor pat mccrory signed a law today stripping his democratic successor of some power. it merges the state's boards of elections and ethics, and mandates an equal number of democrats and republicans. governors used to pick a majority of members from their own party. hundreds of protesters rallied inside north carolina's legislative building this week,
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accusing republicans of undermining democracy. incoming governor roy cooper has threatened to sue. american drugmaker mylan has started selling a generic version of its epipen. the life-saving allergy treatment will cost $300 for a pack of two. that's half the price of its branded option. earlier this year, high epipen costs triggered national criticism and inquiries from congress. stocks closed slightly lower on wall street today. the dow jones industrial average lost more than eight points to close at 19,843. the nasdaq fell 19, and the s&p 500 slipped nearly four. for the week, the dow gained nearly half a percent. both the nasdaq and the s&p 500 dropped a fraction of a percent. and mourners bid goodbye to a national hero today, as john glenn's casket lay in honor at ohio's state capitol in columbus. the first american astronaut to orbit the earth served more than
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two decades as a u.s. senator from ohio. he died last week at 95. hundreds of visitors paid their respects at the first of several events honoring glenn. a memorial service is being held tomorrow at ohio state university. still to come on the newshour: evacuations halted from the besieged syrian city of aleppo, deadly black lung disease being diagnosed in younger coal miners, the populist ideology that's sweeping through italy. and much more. >> woodruff: today brought renewed doubts about the durability of the plan to allow tens of thousands of civilians and fighters to leave syria's major eastern city, aleppo. evacuations that began yesterday abruptly stopped amid renewed violence and recriminations.
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meantime, the assad regime consolidated its hold on a sector of the city rebels held for more than four years. we have this report from dan rivers of "independent television news," from aleppo. >> reporter: less than 24 hours after it started, the evacuation turned into a scramble for safety. mortars had been fired and red crescent vehicles were forced to abandon the rescue of tens of thousands of civilians. well as you can see, the buses and the red crescent vehicles are pulling out. we're hearing the sounds of mortars. it's a lot of chaos here, but what's clear is that there has been a breakdown of this ceasefire. within minutes, syrian soldiers were reinforcing the front line as an armored vehicle ventured further toward rebel territory. after an hour, the breakdown in trust was total. trucks dumping rubble to seal the escape route. a convoy, which had already
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left, was forced to turn around. women and children waiting in the biting cold as negotiations failed. as this played out, we caught a rare glimpse of one of syria's allies, hezbollah soldiers from lebanon arriving to bolster the defenses along this key road. and then, the final confirmation, the plan to rescue civilians was failing. the convoy driving back into the ravaged enclave they'd only just left. for those on board, it must've been as confusing as it was terrifying. >> these are the civilians that are turning back from the crossing point from the passage after it was closed. >> reporter: and where it was closed, officers were already consolidating their grip on the last checkpoint, leaving those looking on in no doubt which way the wind is blowing now. any vestige of the rebels is rapidly being expunged.
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a revolution that has burnt out here in aleppo, leaving behind a legacy that horrifies many ordinary people. >> it really breaks my heart to see the city like this, the old city like this. >> reporter: do you think people in aleppo can forgive each other on each side of the front line? >> of course, because if we couldn't we wouldn't have stayed here. of course we can. of course like the people, the people are strong. >> reporter: the ceasefire may have broken down for now. but there's no reversing president assad's victory here. a position of strength, which seems unassailable. but one which has been achieved at the cost of this city's people and heritage. >> woodruff: black lung disease is well known for causing the deaths of thousands of coal miners over decades.
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now, a new report finds miners may be suffering from the most advanced form of the disease at a rate ten times higher than what the government has reported. hari sreenivasan-- in our new york studios-- has the story. >> reporter: for the past five years, the government has reported just under 100 cases of complicated black lung disease, which is also called progressive massive fibrosis. but a new npr investigation found nearly 1,000 cases in nearly the same time from clinic reports in four states-- virginia, west virginia, pennsylvania and ohio. the extent of the problem has stunned a number of researchers and experts who work with miners as well. one of the miners diagnosed with black lung and profiled in the npr stories-- mackie branham-- spoke of just how difficult it is for him to breathe and his ill health. but he said mining was "in his blood." >> takes a lot of pressure in my
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chest at all times. i've never been scared to death. it don't bother me a bit. it's just i won't see my kids grow up. but if i had it to do over, i would do it again. if that's what it took to provide for my family. >> reporter: howard berkes has been uncovering this in a two- part series that concludes tonight on "all things considered" and he joins me now from salt lake city. howard, it is so difficult to hear that man struggling to breathe, and it's also hard to reconcile how he says he would do this again because this is what he would do for his family, even though the health challenges that he and so many people in this community are facing. >> it's so common to hear that. miners want to go back to work. mackie branham told me if he could get a lung transplant
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tomorrow, he hopes he could go back to work, which is not going to happen. but mining, as he said, is in his blood. it's part of the local culture, local history. generations of families mine and it really is about the only decent job in most parts of appalachia. >> sreenivasan: let's talk about the gap between the numbers here, the numbers the government documented and the numbers you're able to uncover in your investigation. what accounts for this? >> well, first of all, it's the limitations on government researchers. this is the nationa national ine for occupational safety and health, and they track black lung disease by bringing in miners for x-rays. but they're limited by law to only testing working miners, number one, and the x-rays are voluntary, number two. so they miss non-working miners,
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people who've retired, and they're also missing a huge segment, most miners, really, who avoid getting tested because they fear if there's a positive test for black lung, somehow the mining company will figure out and they will lose their jobs. >> sreenivasan: but that's illegal. >> it's illegal but miners widely believe it. all miners i've talked to in appalachia in the last five years all say the same thing. they fear just going to the niosh vans that come into their community and seen going into the vans could cause the mining company to say this guy might have black lung. the last mining company you worked for is the mining company saddled with your black lung benefits and your healthcare, so you could have worked for another mining company for 20 years, but if you worked for the last one for a year, they're the ones that pay, so miners believe
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that if the mining company finds out, they'll lose their jobs, so they don't get tested. >> sreenivasan: this is also one of the worst forms of black lung. is there something different that's happening in the mining now that's increasing the the likelihood they get the worst form of it? >> well, for at least a decade or so, the big coal mining scenes in appalachia have played out and there are thinner seams that have coal mixed in with rock that contains silica and they mine the rock and coal together so silica dust is mixed in with the coal dust and silica is especially toxic and that is believed to be the cause of this very more serious phases of disease that are affecting these minors, it's also causing them to get black lung a lot younger than what was typically used to be when you would see miners in their '60s and 70s.
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wie talked to miners in their 30s and 40s that are getting the most serious stage of black lung. >> sreenivasan: what happens to a miner with this serious of the disease? who pays for it especially when so many small coal companies are going bankrupt because the energy companies are favoring natural gas now? >> it's also very large coal companies going bankrupt. if the coal company is self-insured and they don't have enough assets, then they're not going to have enough money to pay for the benefits, and the coal company is first in line to pay the benefits. if the coal company can't pay the benefits it shifts to the federal black lung trust fund, a federal program. the problem is if you have all the miners coming into the system requiring black lung benefits, coal companies are unable to pay, then that shifts to taxpayers. >> sreenivasan: and an affordable care act twist to this as well?
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these are pre-existing conditions if they went to a different plan, but if the affordable care act is repealed, would these miners lose these benefits? >> well, not only that, there is in the affordable care act a specific benefit for coal miners with black lung that makes it easier for them to get black lung benefits. so if the affordable care act is repealed, it will be back to the old days when it was much more difficult to get benefits in the first place. >> sreenivasan: all right, howard berkes joining us from salt lake npr. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: stay with us. coming up on the newshour: mark shields and ramesh ponnuru take on the week's news, a small publisher with a big impact on literature, and rethinking how we listen. but first, earlier this month, italian voters rejected a
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referendum to alter that nation's constitution-- in what was a stern rebuke of prime minister matteo renzi, who resigned in the aftermath. the vote was seen as the latest instance of a rising tide of populism both in europe, and here, against elites and the perceived establishment. from rome, special correspondent christopher livesay explains >> reporter: it started as just another protest movement. now it could control the italian government. and many in europe are terrified. it's cald the five star movement. a foul-mouthed comedian named beppe grillo founded the group only seven years ago. today, the five star movement is italy's fastest growing party, picking off votes from both left and right, with a populist message skewering the political establishment amid the punishing economic fallout of the euro crisis. >> crisis, crisis, crisis! >> reporter: the government has long dismissed them as anti-euro nationalists-- done so at their
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now-clear, and great peril. this month, center-left prime minister matteo renzi-- a staunch defender of the european union-- was forced to resign when he failed in a referendum on constitutional reforms that would have weakened the powers of the senate, in order to streamline the legislative process. the five star movement campaigned hardest against renzi. new elections are expected early next year. and it's the five star movement with the wind in its sails. franco pavoncello is a professor of political science and the president of john cabot university in rome. >> the five star movement is basically a rejectionist party that feels that the entire political spectrum has been disqualified by decades of bad management, corruption, economic decline, where the people are much poorer than their grandparents. and this is where we see a parallel with brexit and the united states. there is a sense of the
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dispossessed, of the disenfranchised, those who feel they don't really have a voice anymore. >> reporter: that voice is channeled in parliament by lawmakers like manlio di stefano, a leading figure in the movement. what will a five star government look like? >> how will we govern? how will people give us the numbers? people will give us the numbers. we are sure 100% that the next political election, people will realize that five star movement against the rest of the establishment. >> reporter: so it's the five star movement against everyone else. >> i think, yes. >> reporter: at just 35-years- old, di stefano epitomizes the youthful rebellion at the heart of the movement, telling his parliamentary rivals they'd never worked a real job in their lives. italians like roberta maggi-- who feel increasingly left
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behind-- are the core of the five star movement's support. last year, the landlord shut off the single mother's heat and hot water when she lost her job as a secretary, and could no longer afford rent. she heats up pots of water on the stove and she washes her children in the sink. >> ( translated ): you see what i'm going through? sometimes i just break down. >> reporter: with christmas just around the corner, she faces eviction this very morning. neighbors and friends have rallied to her side. among them: roberta lombardi, another member of parliament from the five star movement. >> we are here to try to stop this eviction. >> reporter: and stop it she did, at least for now. the court officials left when they saw the crowd. have you ever seen another party ever done so much for you? >> ( translated ): no. never.
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it's never happened before. >> reporter: stunts like these have made the five star movement vulnerable to charges of populism-- a charge they relish. >> so a lot of people say to us, this thing that you do makes you a populist. and we always say, okay, if you consider to be populist just taking care of people, we are proud to be populist! but the truth is that everyone in this building, in parliament, should be a little bit populist, meaning they should consider the people's needs. otherwise you are doing your own interests. >> reporter: populism is thriving across europe, as economies in the common market struggle, and immigration booms. while less extreme than other european populists, five star movement leaders insist migrants denied asylum should be immediately deported. and, they've been accused of circulating fake news about migrants to incite their followers. patrizio nissirio is a senior
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editor at "ansa," italy's leading news agency. he says fake news is exploding across europe. >> it's such a danger that figures like pope francis warned the press not to spread. he actually made a strong parallel between feces and this kind of news. >> reporter: nissirio points to one fake news story accusing the government of stuffing ballot boxes. >> no, this is a completely bogus story. there's no reality about it. but the reaction on the social network was impressive. over 230,000 reacted to this on the social network. >> reporter: rula jebreal is an international affairs analyst. >> oh, russia is the real winner of all of this. i mean, they kill the news itself by flooding the market with fake news.
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look globally. we have a president-elect who asked russia to hack the democratic committee. marie le pen in france who asked the russians $7 million so she could run a campaign. and the five stars here are selecting these kinds of news. it's a national security threat, what we're seeing. >> reporter: the five star movement denies it has a pro- russian agenda. but some of their policy proposals would benefit russia: such as pushing for italy to leave nato, and for the e.u. to end sanctions on russia for annexing crimea in 2014. >> we want to cut these sanctions. >> reporter: you want to cut european union sanctions against russia. >> yes. the only ones that are losing money are the european people. they did something that was just a demonstration of power-- europe against russia.
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and russia is winning. >> reporter: indeed, it's the five star movement's euro- skepticism that's shaken investors and much of europe. if elected, they've promised to hold a referendum on abandoning the euro currency. as the eurozone's third-largest economy, italy's exit could be disastrous. the government is now in the hands of an interim cabinet, and new elections must be held. according to polls, the five star movement won't win an all- out majority. but they're confident that the polls are wrong-- just as they were for another political iconoclast: donald trump. >> he made his campaign with the full establishment system against him. and everybody was really against him. we are facing the same thing in italy. and we will succeed like they did, but as i said, we will really do what we are promising
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now. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm christopher livesay, in rome. >> woodruff: and to the analysis of shields and ponnuru. that's syndicated columnist mark shields and ramesh ponnuru of "the national review." david brooks is away. welcome to both of you. let's start out, mark, by talking about this back and forth every day there's a new piece of information about it did between what donald trump is saying about whether the russians were involved in this hacking of the democratic national convention and what the c.i.a. and now the f.b.i., president obama weighed in today on this, what are we to make of all this? >> i think what we're to make of it is, to me what's fascinating
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is not what donald trump is in no particular position to know, but what's most aparticularly large to me is donald trump will become president of the united states, he won the election. this is not about who won the election. he will become the 45t 45th president the 20th of january. it is about whether the sovereignty and self-determination of the united states was compromised by an organized at the highest russian levels, which means mr. putin, espionage and sabotage of the american democratic system, and there is an office in this country that's higher than that of president and it's patriot, and john mccain is filling that now, and john mccain is saying these are questions that must be answered, these are questions that demand an answer, and the idea, as mitch mcconnell the republican senate majority leader says, sending it to the intelligence committee is a way of sending it to limbo.
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we spent $40 million in five years in the intelligence committee investigating torture at abu grab and have yet to get a report about it. i think the armed services committee with jack reed and tim kaine, i think you will get an honest hearing and we need it. the idea people are so concerned about a $500,000 contribution to the clinton foundation changing and influencing american policy somehow indirectly and incurious about russia's involvement and sabotaging an american election is unforgivable to me and irrational. >> woodruff: ramesh, do you think this will be investigated thoroughly? >> i think this controversy is expanding in all directions. you're going to have an investigation. you're going to have a report from the administration. during the a press conference, president obama said there would be a report tying loose ends all
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together before he leaves office, then you will have the hearings over the configuration of trump secretary of state nominee rex tillerson which i believe the number one and two topics are going to be the administration's intentions toward russia. trump will be our third president in a row coming into office wanting friendly relations with russia, and now this incredible backdrop will color everything. >> woodruff: getting to what you are both saying, this does leave a dark cloud hanging over the question of our democracy. i mean, if another nation, unfriendly, to put it, i guess in the best terms, can come in and leak and get information and have it leaked at will, what does that say about our system of government? >> it says that, a, we're vulnerable to such attacks and, b, a that we're manipulated and could be manipulated by russia. i mean, russia, this is not a
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one-off for russia. rust's done it already in germany and italy and democracies in western europe and eurasia, and they're good at it. let's be very blunt, it's not a major investment of time or money. it is of talent and skill, and they have been very good at it. but, judy, i mean, the question is, obviously it's on everybody's mind, is why did they just reveal john podesta's and the democratic national convention and only attempts to get into one republican staffer's email who had long since left the committee? why wasn't that leaked? it raises questions about where putin's affections and loyalties
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lay in this election. >> woodruff: the president was very careful about the way he spoke about it today. he mentioned in his news conference, but a lot of people are saying they're now convinced the russias, vladimir putin was trying to hurt hillary clinton and hurt donald trump. >> well, yeah, that does seem to be the view, at least based on the latest reporting of the u.s. government. i think that one of the things that president obama was trying to do is to not allow that to be the conversation that consumes the democrats as they figure out what happened in this election. he also made a big point of talking about the mistakes the democrats made, although was careful about that, too, since he didn't want to personally criticize hillary clinton. if the democrats obsess about the russian role in this and they take their eye off the ball of some of the reforms they need to undertake themselves. >> woodruff: but as both of you were saying, the suggestion is if, indeed it is known, if they conclude at the end of the investigation the russians were
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behind this, something will have to be done. president obama said he told vladimir putin to cut it out, but beyond that we don't know. >> something has to be done, no question, and whether it's revealing putin's own financial situation, his wheeling and dealing, embarrassing him, whatever form of retaliation. i thought what was most interesting, judy, is donald trump's official response which was an attack upon the c.i.a. now, donald trump has never spent time in washington, so he's never been to langley, virginia, that hold the c.i.a. headquarters. he would find on the wall of stars 113 names of american c.i.a. operatives and employees who died defending this country, and one of them, hugh redman, was 19 years a prisoner in shanghai where he was tortured by the chinese communists. i should not get ahead of myself because donald trump doesn't like people who were captured, he likes people who weren't
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captured. but these are patriots and people who work hard and no president who's coming in should ever disparage or demean or denigrate the heroic efforts these people go to to keep us safe. >> ramesh, mark mentioned rex tillerson choice by donald trump to head the state department. they will be these confirmation hearings. what do you think is going to come out of that? do you think he's going to sail through knowing what we know about his close connections with mr. putin? >> my suspicion is he will not see this process as one of sailing through. i think there will be tough questioning. i think he comes with some real advantages. i think the republicans, who of course have a majority in the senate, tend to think well of successful businessmen which he certainly is. he's got the support of some leading former republican
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establishment. former vice president dick cheney is saying things on his behalf. i was saying how trump will be te third president in a row coming in unfriendly -- friendly relations. it didn't work out for the previous two. one you have two to ask if this makes sense for our country now. >> woodruff: mr. tillerson and the other prominent appointee this week is former texas governor rick perry to run the energy department. we're just about finished now filling out the trump cabinet, at least those he's nominating, to take these positions. do you think we have a good sense of where donald trump wants to take the country from looking at it? >> i don't, judy. i think mr. tillerson in all likelihood will be confirmed for all the reasons ramesh addressed. he has jim baker and condi rice weighing in and appears the republican establishment,
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certainly. he doesn't need dick cheney's support now as much as the gates-rice-baker backing. but that aside, there is always the presumption of the cab feet. unalike a judge that's abointd a life time. rick perry, irony of ironies, whoblg forget 2011 in auburn hills, michigan, as every republican does in a presidential debate talked about all the agencies he was going to get rid of them, you recall there was education and commerce and that third one -- whoops -- energy. but here he is and instead of getting rid of it -- maybe he's going to get rid of it, but the irony, the man who called donald trump a cancer on the conservative movement, who had to be excised, is now nominated by donald trump showing what a
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big person donald trump is to be his secretary of energy. >> woodruff: the last thing i want to talk to you about is syria, president obama, ramesh, was asked about this today. we see aleppo finally all but completely falling to the assad regime. president obama says, yes, i take responsibility for everything that happens on my washington how do you read the obama administration and the the story of what's happened in syria? >> i don't see how this is anything other than a black mark on the obama administration's record. of course, there is a temptation for americans to think that everything that happens in the world is somehow our responsibility, our fault or our credit, but here we have a situation where the administration pursued a policy that by his own admission today was ineffective and where his continual, even now he wants to work with the united nations while admitting the russians are going to prevent the united
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nations from doing anything. >> woodruff: mark? assad remains, putin, iran, al quaida, i.s.i.s. but for the united states to be able to lead any kind of movement, to save the humanitarian tragedy, to avoid and rescue the innocent suffering there is a failure, is a real failure. i mean, aleppo will be in the same category as dresden. it will be remembered as a humanitarian disaster. but the president gets responsibility, the congress are the cowardly lions in this. they talk a big game and none of them steps up. very few. i mean, there was jeff flake and tim kaine who were willing to lead an authorization of military force, but the others talk a good game and as far as
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the "no fly" zone, there wasn't the will to impose it, and there was opportunity leadership. >> woodruff: i was struck the president thinks every day what more he could have done and particularly i was struck by he spoke about the children who have died in syria. well, it's great to have both of you here, ramesh ponnuru and mark shields, friday night. thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: now, the story of a small, but influential publisher that's succeeding at making poetry ever more relevant to the problems and dynamics of our time. jeffrey brown reports from minnesota. >> brown: rejection. >> reporter: jeff shotts clearly loves his job.
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but one part of it-- sorting through thousands of poetry manuscripts every year-- and rejecting 99% of them -- that's not his favorite. >> i don't want to be the "rejection guy", jeffrey, but rejection is part of the equation of being an artist and not just a poet. but we're receiving thousands of poetry submissions. >> reporter: literally. >> literally. and we're publishing about ten to 12 poetry books in a year. and the math of that is very difficult for poets probably to hear. >> reporter: i think i saw your shoulders just slump as you said it. >> a little bit, yes, yes. >> reporter: shotts is executive editor at graywolf press in minneapolis. a small but prominent literary publisher. >> what time was that? >> reporter: one of the hundreds
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of sometimes tiny cogs that keep the world of poetry alive and thriving. and those books graywolf has been publishing-- of many poetic styles and subjects-- are getting a lot of attention these days. volumes like claudia rankine's "citizen", examining overt and subtle racism, which has won numerous prizes and garnered huge sales. and more recently, solmaz sharif's "look"-- about war and violence-- was on the short list for the national book award. two other graywolf collections made the long list. >> we want our poetry books to be challenging. challenging the way that these are poets who are engaging with important social issues in many cases. >> reporter: do you think this accounts in part for the recent success you've had with these books? >> i think there is something about the fact that so many of us in american culture are saturated with media, saturated
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with social media maybe in particular. but the idea of being able to hold an object in your hand, it is an engagement, an individual engagement with an individual voice that i don't think any other art form than poetry can provide in the same way. >> reporter: graywolf was started 42 years ago in washington state. ten years in, the press came to minnesota, where it found a welcoming home. >> books that are relevant to what people are thinking about. >> reporter: the twin cities have developed a reputation as a small press mecca and big book town. we visited during its annual festival of books where indie locals, who punch well above their weight, sold their wares: coffee house press, rain taxi review, milkweed editions, and more. graywolf's jeff shotts says there's never been a better time for poetry publishing. >> the vitality of poetry right
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now i think is at a pitch high. and i think there are more people reading it, engaging with it, performing it, saying it out loud, saying it in an interior way and making it part of their daily lives. >> reporter: and a lot of people writing it-- which brings us back to that rejection business. this past summer, when graywolf put out a call for manuscripts, nearly 2,000 were sent in. it's cruel, but you like to see the number go down. >> yeah. >> reporter: shotts and colleagues read every work submitted, sorted them into yes and, mostly, no categories, but also drew careful distinctions between "no, not ever" and a "no, but maybe someday". >> you know, there was something in this that was exciting. it didn't quite hit for us here, but let's keep in touch and is there a conversation that can happen? that's something i'm excited about having as an ongoing
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out here conversation with poets all over the world. >> reporter: you would reject people several times, but keep talking. >> absolutely. >> reporter: and then eventually something would come. >> this has certainly happened and we've had marvelous books as a result of it. >> reporter: and his advice to those who don't make the cut? >> i don't think it makes someone less of a poet not to be published. they are still a poet. there's publishing and then there's poetry. yes, those things can go hand in hand in a way to present particular kinds of poetry. but more often than not, poetry is also meant to be performed or spoken or shared intimately. that is absolutely the place where poetry is inside our lives. >> reporter: from minneapolis, i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour.
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>> woodruff: this fall, tensions around free speech and political sensitivities have erupted on several college campuses. "new yorker" writer nathan heller wonders if listening differently might need to be required study. tonight nathan brings us the latest installment in our series i.m.h.o.-- in my humble opinion. >> we've been hearing a lot about free speech on campus, yet the crucial challenge now isn't what we're free to express. it's how we listen. solving college's problems today, i believe, paradoxically means listening less like wise scholars and more like travelers. americans who got out of town this summer might recall the feeling. around the house, we know what we're listening for. an early clap on the porch means that the newspaper has arrived. the dishwasher making that weird sound again calls for the usual repair. we tune out the
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announcements on the subway. when we travel, however, we listen differently. we process everything with fresh ears. there are no expectations, no old scripts to follow. part of the problem is language. many people get behind the same abstract words, and yet their meanings diverge and harden. what about that worn-out word "diversity," which recently emerged in a dispute about an old mural at oberlin college. the painting, a tableau of several cultures, including a black man playing the saxophone and a south asian man charming a snake, had been created to celebrate diversity. but some current students thought these caricatures stood for the opposite of diversity. they made variety exotic. the mural was eventually painted over-- to the alarm of others, who worried about censorship of art. if all sides listened to the
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debate like strangers in a strange land, what might they have heard? they might have noticed that the mural's right to exist as art-- as a creative work reflecting its moment-- had never been in question. instead one side thought the mural was racist. another saw it as merely an artifact of the past. "diversity," as a concept, had been tossed around so vaguely that it was unclear which was the case. travelers listening for the first time might not be so sure. we expect new students to have disorienting experiences when they arrive on campus. yet if higher education is really going to be worth the name, the listening needs to happen on a broader institutional level, too. education, it's sometimes said, is a journey. let's all make sure we hear enough to make the trip worthwhile.
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>> woodruff: listening, good advice for all of us. and finally to our newshour shares, something that caught the u.s. transportation security administration-- or t.s.a.-- is making its mark on social media with a surprisingly popular instagram account. more than 600,000 people follow its posts of prohibited items agents deem unfit to fly. the newshour's julia griffin met the man behind the account. >> reporter: guns, knives, and holiday pies. when it comes to air travel this month, only two of those three will land you on santa's naughty list, but they all could land on t.s.a.'s instagram feed. a click-bait worthy mix of confiscated security items and explosive-detecting dogs, "rolling stone" magazine has rated t.s.a.'s instagram as the app's fourth best-- right between pop stars rihanna and beyonce. >> as a former musician, i always wanted to make "rolling stone," and i never imagined that i would make it through social media with t.s.a. >> reporter: social media
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specialist bob burns runs the agency's feed. >> i think that people find that fascinating. >> reporter: some of the bizarre highlights include: a homemade avalanche charger, this bag of live eels, a human skull hidden in a clay souvenir pot, and, of course, canines at work-- and at play. >> you can never go wrong with the dogs. >> reporter: but the most-liked post? this full-sized dummy corpse from the film "the texas chainsaw massacre." >> i don't know how they worked it out, if they had a ticket for him with the airline, but we had to screen through the x-ray." >> reporter: t.s.a.'s images mainly come from security check incident reports. and while the stream of explosives and weapons might trigger alarm, burns contends it shows the often-criticized agency is getting the job done. >> i think it acts as a deterrent. it shows that we're finding these things, and if anyone was thinking about sneaking something through, they're going to say, "well, maybe i shouldn't, because they're probably going to find it." >> reporter: but the t.s.a's
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posts also provide travel tips. really need that five-blade mace on your vacation? put it in your checked bag. want to know if you can carry-on that mini alligator head? tweet @asktsa. and need to make sure that laptop you left at newark airport last month gets returned? returned? >> we recommend people place their business card or their contact information on their laptop. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm julia griffin at ronald reagan national airport in washington, d.c. >> woodruff: i'm just glad they're going through it so carefully. and we'll be back, right here, on monday, with a rare look inside bruce springsteen's home studio, where the rock legend opens up about his music and battles with depression. that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. have a great weekend. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: lincoln financial is committed to helping you take charge of
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your future. >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh
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